UF lacrosse team wins first-round match at NCAA tourney

Florida lacrosse coach Amanda O'Leary. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun/File]

Special to Gatorsports.com

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 19 Florida lacrosse team defeated Johns Hopkins 16-9 on Friday to move on to face No. 3 seed North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Florida (14-6) will play the Tar Heels (15-3) at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Shannon Kavanagh led the way on the offensive front for Florida, totaling eight points on five goals and three assists on the day. Sydney Pirreca and Lindsey Ronbeck each followed with three goals, while Madi Hall and Brianna Harris pitched in two as well.

The Gator defense was locked in from the start, causing seven turnovers on the day. Caroline Benitez and Cara Trombetta led the way with two caused turnovers apiece. The entire defensive unit held Johns Hopkins (10-8) to 9-of-27 shooting (.333) on the day as well.

Florida won 15-of-27 draw controls, led by six from Ronbeck. Kavanagh and Sabrina Cristodero also pitched in four draw controls of their own.

Haley Hicklen posted a .471 saves percentage on the day, registering eight saves to secure the victory – the 49th of her career at Florida.

“The team played as a complete unit today and it was really exciting to watch,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Our defense was outstanding – they held a really good Hopkins team to limited opportunities. We have some things we need to work on before facing North Carolina on Sunday, but overall I’m just really proud of the effort tonight.”